A prosecutor urged an appellate court to reject a motion by fugitive director Roman Polanski's lawyer to disqualify the entire Los Angeles Superior Court bench from the rape case.
The California Second District Court of Appeal had stopped a scheduled hearing and asked for the district attorney's response to the motion by Polanski's lawyer.
Polanski is seeking dismissal of a 31-year-old rape case involving a 13-year-old girl. However, his lawyer, Chad Hummel, made a last-minute plea to stay the hearing, claiming the entire Los Angeles Superior Court bench was biased against the award-winning movie director.
Head Deputy District Attorney Lael Rubin wrote in a 24-page brief filed Friday that the allegation of bias is "patently frivolous" and based on "mere conclusions with no factual basis."
"No person aware of all the facts, would entertain any doubt about the impartiality of Judge (Peter) Espinoza and certainly not the entire bench of the Los Angeles Superior Court," the prosecutor argued.
Hummel argued that the county court system's 600 members should be disqualified from hearing the case and a neutral judge should be appointed from outside the county. Espinoza, the Superior Court's presiding judge who was scheduled to conduct the hearing, turned down the original claim of bias.
The document filed Friday denied that a statement by the court's public information officer about the Polanski case had been authorized by the judge.
The new round of legal motions in the long dormant case was prompted by the release of an HBO documentary, "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired." The dismissal motion is based on new information revealed in the documentary about actions of the now deceased trial judge.
Rubin said the judge's actions were irrelevant to the current disqualification motion.
Hummel argued that the communications between the judge and prosecutor were clear misconduct and violated Polanski's constitutional rights.
The girl who was sexually violated, now a 45-year-old woman, has filed an affidavit supporting dismissal of the case.
Polanski, 75, living in exile in France, received a directing Oscar in absentia for 2002's "The Pianist." He has also directed such classic films as "Chinatown" and "Rosemary's Baby."
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